Principal Millington Among Finalists For Peabody Position

The Swampscott High principal has been with the district since 2010.


Swampscott High School Principal Layne Millington is one of three finalists for the principal position at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School.

He and the other candidates will be interviewed in public by Peabody Superintendent Joe Mastrocola Jan. 28-30.

Principal Millington, formerly the assistant principal at Belmont High School, was hired by Swampscott Superintendent Lynne Celli and has anchored the school since July 2010.

We asked him for any thoughts he cared to share about his possible move to Peabody.

He said his experience with the students, faculty and parents at Swampscott High has been incredible.  

"Through their work, the school has grown immensely by every measure of achievement in an extraordinary way," he said.  "However, I am looking at my professional options for the sake of my family and to ensure my own professional growth."

Superintendent Celli said the principal and his team have done a phenomenal job at the high school. They have been supported by the district leadership team and by significant district resources in the wake of the school accreditation report in 2011.

The report was based on an earlier self study over nine months during the 2008-09 school year and noted improvements needed. They included greater community involvement and the way the budget was set. The report noted a need for consistent leadership since the school had been led by six different principals over nine years.

Superintendent Celli said any superintendent would prefer to have a consistent line-up of administrators but she wants her administrators to be happy and she will support them if they seek other opportunities.

She said some administrators seek different experiences to round out their professional experience.

She said she has worked in both suburban and urban districts and also sought out the vocational experience — all to assemble a balance of professional experiences.

If Principal Millington is successful and gets the Peabody job, she said, the district will seek an administrator to continue the district's progress just as it has at the Middle School and Stanley School where principals left for new jobs last year.

 The other two candidates for the Peabody adminsitratve post are:

  • Eric Buckley, assistant principal at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School
  • John Dillon, assistant principal for education services at Minuteman Regional High School

The new Peabody principal will replace Ed Sapienza, who officially retired last school year but agreed to return for one more year until a permanent hire was made.

Mastrocola said that following the interviews, he will complete background and reference checks before selecting the principal.

That person will then be announced to the School Committee first and then to the community, which Mastrocola hopes to do by Feb. 27.

Restless January 24, 2013 at 12:53 PM
This is disappointing. I have been supportive of Mr Millington and he gave me assurances he was going to stick around. We need more continuity in the senior school administration if we are going to improve things significantly.
John January 24, 2013 at 12:55 PM
And another one bites the dust ... Just when our school system starts to have long needed stability, the principal walks. Our taxes go up and up and next year we will start over with a new person in charge on Essex St, or even better, someone who does not want to be there ! Why is it that every two or three years we need another commitee to find educational leaders for this town ?
Neila J. Straub January 24, 2013 at 12:59 PM
While I would be very sad to see us lose such a wonderful principal, it does seem to be the nature of education administrators today to continue to seek different positions after a few years. Let's appreciate him while he is here. I think he has done an amazing job, and is so accessible to the parents and community.
reall January 24, 2013 at 01:53 PM
I wish Mr Millington good luck, I would be really glad if he will get this position and leave SHS
Glenn Paster January 24, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Neila and others, you are correct in wishing Mr. Millington good luck. And yes, the nature of education, like most industries is to seek new challenges and opportunities. PHS offers a much larger school, with different professional challenges and probably a healthy salary increase. Mr. Millington, was an outstanding hire by the Superintendent. He brought substantial stability to SHS at a time of great need both in education (student achievement, substance abuse awareness, time on learning, etc.) and teacher expectations and morale. Good luck Mr. Millington with the final interview process at PHS. I am sure the Dr. Celli will continue hiring the best possible candidates, (reviews of the new Asst Superintendent, and new Principal's at Stanley and SMS are very positive), to work in the district. Additionally, I am optimistic the current School Committee will allow Dr. Celli and her leadership team to continue leading our school district in a positve direction.
Lenny January 24, 2013 at 03:53 PM
He certainly has a right to pursue other options, but I wonder if Peabody might consider that he has cared to only last two years in Swampscott. Maybe in our next search we should either look from within the district, or if we do go outside we choose someone who has a more stable, longer lasting tenure in previous posistions. I think if we reach way back in town history...look at how principals were chosen at the turn of the century through the 2nd world war...we tended to choose our most successful and long tenured teachers to lead our schools. The names of some of our schools bear witness to those top educators promoted through the ranks back then. Was there something wrong with how those things were done that today we can only rely on ambitious admistrators with advanced degrees and often times with very few classroom hours? It is like adding a swiming pool in the back of your house...sometimes it is nothing more than over capitalization. A talented, long serving teacher would probably make a terrific principal and fortuntately for us, Swampscott has many talented, long serving teachers to chose from.
Tom Driscoll January 24, 2013 at 09:16 PM
This guy looked me in the face last year and said he was here for the long haul. I think we need to have these contracts set up like college coaches with huge buyouts if they leave. Swampscott was a plum job in the old days and an administrator would kill for the position.
Restless January 24, 2013 at 10:51 PM
That was exactly what he said to me. What a fool I was.
Barbara Katz January 25, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Wow. The comments around here are unbelievable. Maybe people should not rush to make judgment against Mr. Millington. There's always two sides to every story. Maybe he has too much integrity to continue working here. Let's look at the other side of the story and start asking ourselves, why are people leaving the Swampscott Schools?
Barbara Katz January 25, 2013 at 12:19 AM
Mr. Paster, I find your comment "I am sure the Dr. Celli will continue hiring the best possible candidates" a little short sighted == how about we give the people who spent long hours on search committees the kudos instead for recommending these candidates? It would be kind of hard for her not to put a "stamp of approval" (because that's pretty much her role in the hiring process) on hiring a candidate when they are recommended by a large group of people who spent all those hours during the interview process. ,
Lenny January 25, 2013 at 04:20 PM
I am not being facetious when I ask this, but what is the issue if it is a matter of his intergrity versus what i assume you are suggesting, the lack of integrity elsewhere in the system? I admit that I am rather ignorant to some of the internal machinations that seem to be stirring here. I thought he was trying to leave because on the basis of career advancement and ambition. But if there is some other motivation, I would like to know what that might be, because maybe I have unfairly judged the man's priorities.
Red Bull January 25, 2013 at 11:22 PM
There seems to be some longevity at the grammer schools (principal) level except for promotions within the system which are considered good. The middle school went through a change this year, which frankly was not all that understood by this middle school parent. In retrospect, Ron Landmann was at the middle school for many years. What is the difference ? I appreciate the fact that the scholastic world, like the rest of the corporate situation, has certainly changed in the last few years. However, as a parent of a student in the system, I am disappointed in the turnover (which is alsways disruptive) particulary at the high school. I realize we can't tie candidates into a committed time, but having been in HR, can know that we can identify those who may not be in it for a longer run. As a middle school parent, this is very concerning. It may also drive one to examine other alternatives. Didn't we have a disproportionate number of 8th graders leave the system last year? Frankly we are considering it for a number of reasons as well, mostly the toxic envrinment at the middle school where "less than bullying, but certainly exclusionist behavior is tolerated" exists. This was before the current principal annouced this news. What is going on here ??? Maybe it is a good thing , maybe not. But turnover is generally a sign of problems within.
John January 26, 2013 at 08:28 PM
As a middle school parent, this is very concerning. It may also drive one to examine other alternatives. Didn't we have a disproportionate number of 8th graders leave the system last year? Last year and Especially the year before ...
powderpuff79 January 26, 2013 at 09:12 PM
yeh, we finally get the middle school straightened out by getting rid of that prima dona and now the high school goes to pieces. what is the school committee doing? do they even have a plan?
Restless January 26, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Between the two of who? Dr Celli and Mr Millington?
Myjanda January 27, 2013 at 06:08 AM
It would be sad to see Mr Millington leave so soon. I have two kids at the high school and both say most of the kids really like him but more importantly, they respect him. I think he's done a good job, and has been a steady presence at the high school, implementing positive policy changes since arriving 2 1/2 years ago. I'd certainly want to get to the bottom of why he is leaving. I can't imagine Peabody would be in and of itself worth jumping ship for - must be more to the story than just more money.
Anne January 27, 2013 at 01:45 PM
I agree with you Myjanda. We also have two at the high school and both have nothing but positive things to say about their principal. We think he has done a very good job and would really hate to see him leave. Hopefully that ultimately will not be the case
Whisky January 27, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Whisky January 27, 2013 at 09:31 PM
“I’m motivated to find a good fit where I can help people,” Millington said. “I’m here as long as they want me, until I die or retire. Hopefully I’ll retire.”
Marianne McDermott January 27, 2013 at 10:39 PM
Mr. Millington has had a significant positive impact on our school system and high school. We are in the first year of our familiy's high school experience. We have been pleased and reassurred by the quality of Mr. Millington's leadership and his commitment to rasing the quality of experience for all Swampscott high school students.
Jen G. January 27, 2013 at 10:50 PM
I'd have to disagree with you there. My interpretation of "professional growth" is bigger salary. Given the amount of change in administration, maybe you're right. But it seems to me that when Mr. Millington said he'd stay for the long haul, he meant he'd only stay until a better opportunity came along.
John B Goode January 28, 2013 at 03:30 AM
No-one ever comes into a job interview and says I'm outta here as soon as a better offer comes along. This is part of career advancement. If you want him to stay you sweeten his compensation. If he's not worth it. move on'
A+ Schools January 28, 2013 at 03:22 PM
So the latest in rumor is that the school committee is split. Some members have had personal issues with the superintendent and what her out. Apparently, some members what to run the schools themselves. I'd like to hear from all of them. Let's hope two new people are elected in April.
Anne Barrett January 30, 2013 at 06:13 PM
I suggest that those people who live in Swampscott and are disappointed to see Mr. Millington looking at different school systems, contact the school board members. The school board had (and may still have) the ability to keep him at SHS. They need to be reminded of Millington's positive influence on the high school.
Kevin Donaher January 30, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Just curious...exactly what positive changes have been made at the high school under Mr. Millinton's leadership? Is taking the job and proclaiming “I’m motivated to find a good fit where I can help people,” Millington said. “I’m here as long as they want me, until I die or retire. Hopefully I’ll retire.” and then moving on a few years later the kind of leadership the town bargained for and admires? I guess a better fit is Peabody where he will tell them the same thing.....until he finds a better fit.


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